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Friday, October 31, 2014

Look :: Happy Halloween from the Loudmouth Family!

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Outfit details:
T's diaper - Pampers Swaddlers
T's hat - Target
T's onesie - DG Baby
T's mittens - similar

Just wanted to pop in and wish you all a happy holiday weekend, if you celebrate! I also wanted to show off my beautiful son, of course, but that's nothing new. Expect more photo dumps very soon!

Brandon and I are working today (ah, the life of entrepreneurship) but we're hoping to stop by a friend's party tonight. TGIF!

*All photos taken by me, with my phone and edited with VSCO.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Look :: Grandma's Boy / Family Photos

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Outfit details:
T's hat - handmade gift
T's onesie - Gerber
My necklace - gift from Liz
My top - Kohl's
My jeans - Kohl's

We had such a great time getting T's newborn photos done that we wanted to let the grandmas in on the fun. I'm pretty sure our moms are even more obsessed with our kid than we are!

He was about two weeks old at our first session, and three weeks at our second. It's amazing how much he changed in such a short amount of time. I know that most people aren't as fascinated with my baby's growth as I am, and that's okay. I'm embracing (and documenting) every moment.

I really can't imagine loving anyone else this much, but I suppose we'll find out in a few years...

*Photos by Megan Burke on October 5, 2014 in Santa Clarita, CA.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Loves :: 15 First Month Favorites

A lot of things about motherhood can be overwhelming, and one of them is knowing which gizmos and gadgets to use. To be honest, newborns don't need much but diapers and boobs. But what if you can't (or don't want to) breastfeed? What if you're debating between cloth and disposable diapers? And if you want to use disposable, which ones do you choose? Because trust me, there's a bajillion brands out there.

I can't tell you which products will work for you and your baby, but I can tell you what I've learned and liked so far. Now that our son is about to be six weeks old, I have an idea of what to replenish and what to toss away. We've tried many different items, and I want to save you some time and effort!

Here are 15 faves that I'd recommend. They can all be purchased at Target, and right now, their website is offering free shipping. So if you're stuck at home with your wee one, you can still go shopping!

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Ameda Purely Yours® Double Electric Pump // For awhile I was using the Medela Harmony Manual Breast Pump but I was getting tired of doing the pumping myself and it was easier to just stop using it altogether. It doesn't help that I've had carpal tunnel on and off for the past couple years and after about five minutes my hand would start to hurt. Fortunately after some persuading, my insurance agreed to pay for an electric pump. I do love breastfeeding but it's nice to have help from Brandon or if we have visitors. Since both B and I work from home now, I might start using Gerber Good Start Gentle for Supplementing Powder in addition to breast milk to save myself even more time but I'm not quite ready for that yet.

Lansinoh® Disposable Nursing Pads and Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads // I know that washable pads are more environmentally and cost-friendly, but to be honest the disposable pads work a lot better for daytime. They're more discreet and I love the sticky backing so that they stay in place. The washable pads are cute but I don't really need everyone to see the outline of the heart through my clothes so I just use those at home. Seeing as I'm at home most of the time though, I end up using them more anyway and just doing a lot of laundry. I usually switch out the pads in the morning and at night.

Gilligan & O'Malley Nursing Sleep Bra // This is the most comfortable and versatile nursing bra that I've tried. Even though it's not very supportive (I mean, what nursing bra is) I love that I can just pull it over instead of unsnapping and folding the cup down. It also helps keep the pump in place so that I can be hands-free which is super helpful when I need to get work done.

Bébé au Lait Nursing Cover // It may come as a surprise to you, but I'm not a huge fan of nursing in public. I have no problem with other ladies doing it, I'm fine with nursing in front of friends and family, and I've even posted boobalicious photos online, but I'm actually quite shy when it comes to strangers seeing my body parts in person. This nursing cover helps me feel more comfortable and I found an even cuter one that I'll have to snatch up (it's the Bamboobies Chic Nursing Shawl).

Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter // My nipples tend to get sore (especially since they're inverted) and this butter helps to soothe. It doesn't hurt that it smells delicious. Spectrum Organic Coconut Oil works just as well and doubles up as a hair treatment.

Pampers Swaddlers Diapers and Pampers Sensitive Baby Wipes // I'd heard good things about these diapers and so far they're working well. As for wipes, we have to use the sensitive kind or Trey gets a rash. I had started using them right off the bat just in case and I'm glad I was safe rather than sorry.

A+D Original Diaper Rash Ointment // Speaking of rashes, we had been using Boudreaux's Butt Paste but even though I adore the name, it didn't do much for T. This ointment seems to work a lot faster and harder when he gets a flare-up.

Summer Infant Deluxe Baby Bather // This isn't the exact bather we have (ours was a hand-me-down) but it's almost identical. We pop it in the sink (or the tub, like the day we had issues with the garbage disposal) and go to town. It's easy to use and transport, and can be folded so that it's more compact for storage.

Aveeno Baby Wash and Shampoo // This soap doubles up as a shampoo and we love the scent. It's perfect for T's sensitive skin.

Eucerin Intensive Repair Extra-Enriched Hand Creme // T has had baby acne on and off since day one and we've tried everything under the sun to calm it down. Surprisingly, this hand lotion does the trick.

Graco® SnugRide® Classic Connect™ 30 Infant Car Seat and Graco SnugRider Elite Stroller // As I've mentioned in the past, we love our car seat and stroller. They're lightweight and easy to use. We have the all-black seat so it goes with everything (duh, of course I would think about that). T is really comfortable in it and so far we've had no problems.

Summer Infant® SwaddleMe® Blankets // We were taught how to swaddle while in the hospital, but these guys make it incredibly easy. Just fold it over, match the Velcro pieces, and you're good to go. These really help when T has trouble falling asleep, calming down or just getting cozy.

*This is not a sponsored post, but if you do purchase something through one of these links, I may get a small commission. Thank you for supporting my growing family and this blog!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Loot :: Ring Sling Giveaway from Fenn of Larry and Boo's Emporium (Guest Post)

I want everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy the awesomeness of baby carrying via my homemade ring sling. I make this type of sling, because it's the type I used when nannying and I love it. You'll also get a matching stuffed animal of your choice!

Since all of our slings and animals are made from vintage or recycled fabric, your sling and animal will be made in the color of your choice, but you'll be surprised by the pattern! (You can specify for a boy or girl, if you'd like.)

Everything we do is one-of-a-kind, so choosing specific fabric isn't an option, which makes this giveaway more fun, right? Feel free to check out our animals on our Facebook page, Larry and Boo's Emporium.

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(Shar here. I was sent this sling and matching penguin! Super cute, right?)

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(An example of how the sling is worn.)

Fenna Blue is a NEOhio native. She's an avid geocacher and photographer. Her favorite pastimes are snuggling with her fluffy kitties and cussing like a sailor! She writes for her personal blog, The Honest Badger, and TV review blog, Gotta Watch It.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Lessons :: Baby Update / Week 5

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Here's what we learned and loved about our little one this past week...

+ I can't believe T is already over a month old! It really does fly by. He's still eating around 10 times over a 24 hour period, but usually skips an afternoon feeding and has an extra one later at night. So, now our schedule looks something like 6am, 9am, 11am, 1pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, 11pm. Yes, you read that right -- as long as he gets fed at 11, he sleeps all the way until 6! After that early morning feed, I like to pull him into bed with me and sleep and snuggle until 9. That's really when I start my day. I am also loving that longer afternoon nap -- I take him for a leisurely walk during that time (he likes to sleep in the stroller anyway), get chores done, work on blog and business stuff, etc. We have all gotten settled into a nice routine, though I'm sure it'll change again soon as you can never predict what will happen with babies! I have also discovered my new favorite nursing bra, which I'll be revealing soon. Good ones are hard to find, trust me.

+ T is still being fussy when it comes time for sleeping. I'm okay with letting him CIO but only if it's for less than 5 minutes. To be honest, we've only used this method once or twice. I'd much rather comfort and rock him to sleep. There's a lot of controversy about this and I've read many articles and blog posts, but as with anything else, every mom and baby and family is different. We all just need to do what's best for us at the moment. I'm choosing to take motherhood day by day, follow my instincts, and do what I feel is right. Most of the time, it doesn't take longer than a half hour of rocking, singing and soothing for him to fall asleep. I am so grateful that he's not a colicky baby -- I truly feel for parents who have to deal with that. I was a little concerned because we did have one night when he simply refused to go to bed and B had to drive him around the block, but normally he is easy to calm down. It just takes time. Though I'm tired almost every day, I'm still getting more sleep than I did when I was working at my corporate job (seriously). And, of course it's worth it, because I love him so much!

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+ We are still bathing him every night, but trying to do it before 8 so that we can put him down earlier. B's mom (Juillet, AKA Mama GG) gives him the bath if B isn't home. My mom also liked doing it while she was here -- she absolutely loved seeing the baby and bonding with him. I miss her already, and not just because she cooked and cleaned for us every day for two and a half weeks. I don't think I've ever met a more selfless soul. Fortunately, she and my dad and brother will be visiting for Christmas. My sister is flying over in January.

+ It's pretty much a 75% chance that T won't freak out when it comes to diapering now, which is great. He used to scream every time but now he normally doesn't. I'm trying to notice patterns and figure out why he sometimes hates it and other times doesn't even notice. When he's full and sleepy he tends to not mind as much. He has gotten a couple diaper rashes -- we've noticed that we definitely can't use anything but sensitive wipes, and I can't drink anything really acidic (like orange juice, flavored waters, wine). I wanted to cut out soda anyway so that works for me. I rarely drink anything but water and black coffee now. I'm embracing my new size 14 shape while at the same time, trying to get back down to my pre-pregnancy weight. Let's be honest, I'd love to fit into last year's shorts by next summer!

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+ Trey has officially grown out of his newborn clothing. He's getting big fast. I don't want to talk about it!

+ His mood is generally happy for most of the day, especially in the morning! Over the past few days he has started smiling more while awake and even giggled once for us! I can't wait to get lots of those on camera for you guys. My heart bursts when I see his mouth turn up and his eyes crinkle. Sometimes I think he gets overstimulated because his brain is developing at the speed of light and when he's awake he acts like Bradley Cooper in Limitless. If you don't know what I mean, just watch the movie. It's good. He also loves visitors -- we had a bunch of them over the past couple weeks! Many thanks to Jacquelyn, Angela, Raiza + fiancé, Sarah, Liza, and Jen for coming over. We're enjoying the flowers and cake and diapers and hat (which you can see on him, above). So blessed!

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+ The biggest news of all is that B got a new job! He will be working from home most of the time too! We are officially a family of entrepreneurs and I am so so proud of him. I had to get a picture of us at the dealership on his last day though -- that is, after all, where we met. And look at us now. Who knew?

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Loves :: What's in my Hospital Bag?

The ever-popular "what's in my bag" posts have been floating around the web for years now (I've posted several here). But today, I want to tell you what I brought in my bag when I went to the hospital and gave birth last month. To be honest, Brandon and I took WAY too much stuff (the title of this should really read "bags") and I want to make sure you don't make the same mistake. There is already a lot to think about and process on that big day, so the last thing you need is to stress about lugging your crap around!

The main thing to remember is this: the hospital provides a LOT of things for you, and anything that you forget can be picked up and delivered by a friend or family member. If all else fails, your partner can run home and grab it once the excitement is over. Towards the end of my pregnancy, every little thing seemed like A Really Big Deal. Try not to have this mentality and just have fun! You're meeting your new BFF!

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Here are the items that I loved having with me:

Insurance card and medical records // Obviously, this is a necessity. Most hospitals have a pre-admission form you can fill out in advance to speed up the paperwork part once you arrive, but you'll still need to show them these items. Your doctor should give you your records within the last few weeks of pregnancy.

Focal point for labor // My Lamaze instructor suggested we bring something -- a photo, a rosary, a good luck charm -- to focus on through contractions. Liz sent me a fluorite worry stone, and I'm not sure where she got it, but you can purchase your own on Etsy here. Rubbing the smooth surface helped me relax.

Electronics and chargers // Brandon and I each brought a phone and tablet. B used his tablet to play music and games, and I used mine for Pinterest and blog-reading. We wanted to reserve our phones for updating friends and family, especially since my parents and siblings still live across the country.

Pillows and blankets for dad // The bedding I was provided worked just fine, but poor Brandon was forced to sleep on an uncomfortable fold-out chair in the recovery room. Fortunately, we'd brought along pillows and blankets from home, so he was (somewhat) cozy during our four day stay.

Spare change for vending machines // I wasn't allowed to eat anything but ice chips for almost 48 hours (during labor, then after c-section) but when the cafeteria was closed and B was hungry at 3am, we were glad to have some quarters. You could also be even smarter than us and pack snacks.

Hair and makeup products // Even though I knew I'd be sweaty and crying during and after labor, I'm still pleased that I made myself look presentable. If a room full of people is going to see my haphazardly shaven vagina, my face better look good. Plus, pictures!

Going home outfit for mom, dad and baby // I hadn't showered the entire time I was in the hospital (being hooked up to an IV and catheter isn't conducive to that) but still wanted to dress up for the celebratory ride home. So, along with my cosmetic bag, I packed this dress and a matching nursing bra. You might want to get all fashion bloggy and create coordinating outfits, but I chose this little number for Trey -- specifically so he could wear the hat. Or, you could just wear what you showed up in. Whatevs.

Car seat // I don't think you're even allowed to leave the hospital without one. Here's the car seat that we have if you're still debating what to get. I know there are a ton of options out there and I remember being really overwhelmed. We chose ours based on the reviews and we love it. Trey thinks it's so comfy that he passes out as soon as we strap him in. It's super lightweight and easy to use, and it snaps into this stroller.

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Here's what I brought and should have left at home:

Water bottles // I was advised to try to sneak sips of water during labor since my mouth would get dry, but honestly, after an hour the ice chips would melt and turn into water anyway. Science, my friends.

Books and magazines // With the power of technology in my hot little hands, I really didn't need these. Plus, I couldn't concentrate on anything slower than the internet due to my excitement.

Pads, underwear, and socks // I wore my moccasins into the hospital which are kinda like slippers and therefore, didn't need socks. The nurses provided granny panties and diaper-sized pads, but honestly, they were SO comfortable that I took all the extras home.

Pajamas for mom and dad // From what I can remember, B slept in his clothes and I stayed in my hospital gown. It was just easier.

Toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash // The hospital provided all of this for me, but your partner may want to bring toiletries as well. B went home to shower and freshen up so we really didn't need this stuff.

Diapers and wipes // Again, these were provided for us and we took home the extras. You only need to bring your own diapers and wipes if there's a certain brand you prefer (or if you're using cloth -- I'm not sure if those would be offered).

Baby blankets // T was wrapped up in your classic pink-and-blue stripes which were good enough for us.

Stroller // I was escorted out in a wheelchair with Trey strapped into his seat on my lap while Brandon pulled up the car and loaded our things. I felt like royalty and we didn't need the stroller.

*Photos found here and here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Loot :: Cloth Diaper Starter Kit Giveaway (Guest Post)

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This is gonna be a great giveaway but a slightly mysterious giveaway. I'm giving away a cloth diaper starter kit, but I don't have photos of what I'm giving away, because I haven't made any of it yet! I'm experimenting with what would be a great and affordable collection of cloth diapers to give new moms an introduction to different types of cloth diapers so they know what they might want to purchase more of in the future.

The kit will include:
One or two t-shirt diapers
Three homemade pre-folds
At least one wool cover
Two fleece covers
One "all-size" pocket diaper
Two soakers for the pocket diaper
Snappis

Examples of these diapers:

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An example of "prefolds" which are meant to be worn in conjunction with a cover.

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An example of a "prefold" and a diaper cover.

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An example of a "prefold" on a baby boy (there are different ways to fold for each sex), snaps (I will include some in the giveaway), and a cover.

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An example of a finished cover...which could be a "pocket" diaper, which means there is just one cover and there is a pocket with a "soaker" inside.

(NONE OF THE IMAGES ARE MINE. THEY ARE EXAMPLES OF WHAT I'M MAKING. FINISHED PRODUCT WILL NOT LOOK LIKE THESE PHOTOS!!!!)

I'm using recycled, cotton, cotton jersey, and wool as well as newly bought micro fleece (synthetic) and wool. I am not using any PUL because I am not satisfied that it is environmentally friendly or appropriate for all babies. All diaper covers will have velcro closures. All fabric will be pre-washed to strip away any sizing or unwanted chemicals. I will use all natural, homemade detergent to strip all the fabrics before sewing the diapers.

Fenna Blue is a NEOhio native. She's an avid geocacher and photographer. Her favorite pastimes are snuggling with her fluffy kitties and cussing like a sailor! She writes for her personal blog, The Honest Badger, and TV review blog, Gotta Watch It.

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Look :: Tremaine's Newborn Photos

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Outfit details:
T's diaper - Pampers Swaddlers
T's hat - Target
T's onesie - Carter's
B's shirt - Target
My necklace - gift from Liz
My dress - Stitch Fix

We have already collected lots of nicknames for Baby Loudmouth.

I prefer Trey, obviously. My dad came up with Tremi. Brandon's mom has dubbed him Little Man, but my mom calls him Mała Żaba, which means "little frog" in Polish. Angela, of course, calls him Pooh. And Fenn, after naming him Baby Awesome during my pregnancy, has switched over to Big T.

No matter what pet name you choose for our sweet Tremaine, however, I'm sure we can all agree on one way to describe him -- and that's downright adorable. I'll treasure these pictures forever!

*Photos by Megan Burke on September 26, 2014 in Santa Clarita, CA.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Life :: Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable (Guest Post)

OK, so if you've been reading my awesome guest posts, then you know that there was a time when I nannied three babies at once. I was also doing part-time babysitting gigs with a family of 5, ages infant to eleven and another family with older kids. The only reason I mention the additional families is because the family of five also used a version of cloth diapers for overnights for the youngest boys.

So, two babies were using cloth diapers called prefolds and one baby was using traditional disposable diapers and then two kids were using pocket diapers for overnights. I'd also like to note that later, after I moved back from Florida, I continued nannying in NEOhio for two infants who used disposable diapers.

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Anyway, I learned about cloth diapers for the first time in Florida. Like I said with my DIY Baby Wipes post, I didn't have an opinion or really a choice in the matter. I was just doing my job and had the benefit of seeing different types of diapers being used over the course of a year and a half.

When I started with the cloth diapers, I was at a park with other nannies, and they were all, "OH no, that's too far! They don't pay me enough to do cloth!" Which is why I want to tell you that my current stance is entirely pro-cloth diaper, because it turned out to be so easy! I'm super lazy, and if disposable diapers were the easier options, I would absolutely tell you so. But the thing is, disposable diapers are flimsy, they are super easy to tear, you have to get them all positions right, they tend to sag throughout the day, and they definitely lead to hold-the-baby-at-arms-length-and-run-to-the-bathroom situations that requiring cleaning up EVERYTHING and changing clothes. Even the wettest poops, never caused a leak-up-the-back mess in cloth diapers like the disposables did.

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The clean up is a little more involved, maybe. Most people think that you need a two-wash cleaning process. Wash with detergent on cold, then wash without on hot. I personally don't believe this is necessary for children without super sensitive skin. You wash the baby clothes once, so I don't know why cloth diapers are different. There is argument about wearing down the cloth over time, but that also doesn't make sense to me. I would simply advise washing with hot water and that's it. HOWEVER, that's based on my personal theories and was never something I used in practice. You'll have to come up with that answer on your own...and so using cloth diapers when you have to go to a laundromat, might not be easier.

The environmental impact is pretty obvious, though. Unless you're using compostable disposable diapers, you're throwing a bunch of crap in a land fill. The cost is also huge. Cloth diapers might cost more to begin with (maybe, but there are stories that people did it for cheap), but cloth diapers are really a one-time start-up cost. Disposable diapers DEFINITELY cost more over time.

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The decision is up to you, obviously. And there is NO JUDGMENT! Do what you want, ladies and gents! I just wanted to relate to you my personal experience in a non-clinical, non-judgmental way. I came into this debate just because I was on the job, and I feel like I came out with a valuable perspective on the matter. But you gotta do you, whatever that is!

Fenna Blue is a NEOhio native. She's an avid geocacher and photographer. Her favorite pastimes are snuggling with her fluffy kitties and cussing like a sailor! She writes for her personal blog, The Honest Badger, and TV review blog, Gotta Watch It.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lessons :: Baby Update / Week 3

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Here's what we learned and loved about our little one this past week...

+ Let me start out by saying that I absolutely adore breastfeeding and the intimacy that it provides. I love when T gets close to my nipple and chomps down on it like he's been starved for days. I love when he pauses and stares up at me and smiles between sucks. I love that he gently places a hand on my breast while he's eating or wraps his tiny fingers around one of mine. I love when he pulls away at the end of feedings with that "drunken sailor" look, milk running out the side of his mouth, eyes half-closed. I love when he curls up on my chest afterwards and falls asleep with his head under my chin. I wasn't prepared for how much I would enjoy the process, but I also wasn't prepared for how messy it would be! When I told my friend Michelle that I wouldn't make it to her wedding in Michigan this month due to the fact that I'd be drenched in my own breast milk, I thought I was joking. It doesn't help that my tits were the size of cantaloupes for the first two weeks and have only shrunken down to coconuts at this point. I'm waiting for them to stop leaking like faucets so that I don't have to wash my nursing bras and pads every other day. One thing that helps a little is tucking a burp cloth under my boob after rolling the bra down so that it catches some of the milk during sessions. I'm not really sure what to do about the nip leakage besides double up on pads, but I'll keep you posted if I find another solution! I am just trying to prevent milk stains as much as possible because I've noticed that shit does NOT come out (though bright yellow poop does, somehow). I could probably write an entire post about nursing and I probably will in the future.

+ Trey is still sleeping for four hours at a time at night and for most of the day between feedings, too. I read somewhere that newborns spend only 10% of their day awake and I totally believe it. We had a pretty strict eating/sleeping schedule for T at first -- I made sure I was feeding him every two hours no matter if it was day or night. Eventually we realized that he is a lot more hungry in the evening and then not so much at night. Now the times that I feed him are usually around 6am, 9am, 11am, 1pm, 4pm, 6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, 2am. He eats for anywhere from 15-45 minutes (but his record time is an hour and a half, no joke). At night we put him in his crib, but during the day I let him sleep wherever -- in the rocker or in bed with me, in his vibrating chair, etc. Cuddling with him is my absolute favorite thing in the world!

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+ We are still bathing him every night, sometimes earlier though if he has an explosive diaper, and only using soap twice a week to lessen the wear on his delicate dry skin. B loves shaping his hair into a faux hawk to match his future BFF, Daniel. The lovely arm below belongs to my mother, who is currently visiting and being an amazing help. She is sleeping in the baby's room on an air mattress and has been up just as much as me. What would we do without our moms? We're so blessed to have them around.

+ Not much has changed when it comes to diapering, except that T has been peeing on himself more than anybody else! He also has some redness on his little baby booty so we are keeping him clean and dry and using plenty of butt paste to prevent it from becoming a full-blown rash. The idea of my son being in pain or even uncomfortable just breaks my heart so I hope it's not bothering him too much. Oh -- random, but my mom is currently watching this and suggested I start calling him Mr. T -- thoughts?

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+ Trey was 8 pounds 3 ounces at his two week appointment so he is starting to fill out and soon he will probably outgrow his newborn clothing. I can't wait to dress him up in more elaborate outfits with little shoes and accessories! Right now the most I can do is put a hat on him and hope that he doesn't fuss too much about it...

+ His mood is still relaxed and bright but he does tend to get a little cranky in the evenings as he gets more hungry and tired. I understand though because I am pretty pooped myself by the end of the day. :)

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+ And just so you know I'm alive, here are two pictures of me from Instagram. I'm the unprofessional photographer of the family so I usually end up behind the camera -- er, phone. Yes, I still look pregnant, but that's normal (unless you're Amber, of course). If I'm going to keep wearing maternity clothes though I might as well color coordinate. I'll see you next week and you can read my last update here!
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